Shannan leigh

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How To : Style Your Shelves Like a Pro

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Today I’m going to walk through my most asked question : how on earth do I style my shelves?

I’d say this is one of the top things people struggle with when it comes to their homes. If that’s you, you’re totally not alone. It was probably the hardest thing for me to figure out in our home too. But I’ve finally worked it out and now it’s a snap! So here’s what I got for you…

Let’s start with a list of common items you can look for to mix throughout your shelves! Feel free to branch out of this list too! These are just items you can find on almost all of my shelves and are all accessible and easy to find!

  1. Picture Frames (grab some cheap printable art off etsy or print your favorite photo)
  2. Decorative Boxes (sometimes called catch all’s…also great for sneaky storage of unsightly things like remotes or chargers)
  3. Candles
  4. Flowers or greenery (I rec keeping it light, nothing too dense or heavy unless its a statement piece)
  5. 2-3 empty vases in different sizes, grouped together 
  6. Dough bowls or wood bowls (or even metal. Any material works..more on that later)
  7. Styling books (Really cannot have too many of these)
  8. Styling beads (wood bone or glass)
  9. Art pieces like statues,  sculptures, magnifying glasses etc.
  10. Canvas or framed art

Now let’s talk styling.

Here are my top 5 tips for styling any shelf!

  1. Overbuy. That’s right. Buy way more stuff than you think you need. You’ll want to have a little room to play when you’re trying to figure out what works best in the space. Keep what you use and return what didn’t work! Trust me, it’s much easier than trying to work with a limited supply of pieces.
  2. Layering. I think a lot of people initially want to just put three things in a row, right next to each other. But layering vases in front of a piece of art, or a candle slightly in front of a bowl or a basket, can give your shelves much more dimension and life.
  3. Alternate your number of pieces per shelf. If I do three items on my top shelf, Ill split two on the second shelf. Just to clarify though, that doesn’t literally mean 3 pieces or 2 pieces. I’m referring to the grouping of items into two groups or three.
  4. Mix your heights. Keep the balance by evenly distributing your heights. If you have tall florals on the top left, then you should have something short right below it. I follow the same rule for florals in general. If I use florals on the top left, I’ll only put florals on the next shelf if it’s on the opposite side.
  5. Mix your textures. I like to keep things mostly neutral around here. You won’t typically find any bright colors in this house. Mixing textures is a great way to bring in a range without throwing in a bunch of color. I make sure to always include some type of wood, ceramic, glass, and florals. Make sure to keep the balance with these items too! Don’t stack wood on top of wood, spread them out for a visually pleasing shelf!

Check out these shelves from our home and see if you can spot these 5 things in use! If you have any questions about your shelves, or you’re stuck on something, don’t hesitate to comment here or shoot me an email, I’m always happy to help where I can! Don’t forget to pin this for later!

Shop My Favorite Styling Pieces :

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May 17, 2020


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A photographer of all things life & love. Dog mama to two tiny pups that have my whole heart, and married to my best friend of 13 years. Together, we share a little house on Lemon St.

I’m Shannan Leigh.

author + designer

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